Breaking the paycheck to paycheck cycle, paying down debt, building an emergency fund, and investing for the future is challenging. No matter what financial goal you're working on, it's vital to have reliable information readily available.
While you can learn from others and connect to their success stories, easy-to-understand explanations of important financial concepts are also crucial if you want to save yourself.
If you're experiencing financial challenges or struggle with making poor money decisions, retirement might be the last thing on your mind. But building financial security and saving for your future is one of the most important things you'll ever do – even if you're starting late.
If you don't have a plan to save yourself, how will your retirement look?
This book review was written by Vicki, co-founder of Women Who Money and Women's Money Talk, and founder of Make Smarter Decisions.
Julie Grandstaff is the author of a newly released book, Save Yourself: Your Guide to Saving for Retirement and Building Financial Security. She spent over 25 years managing a mutual fund and the fixed-income portfolio of a midsize insurance company. Julie has a master's degree in finance and holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation. With the depth of her experience, there's no doubt about the reliability of the information in Save Yourself.
Even though Julie worked in the financial industry and made smart personal finance moves, she watched her mother struggle with money for years. Her mom has a medical condition, can no longer work and lives off Social Security with no other income. And she has no savings… Julie knows this is a recipe for financial disaster in retirement and it's what she addresses in Save Yourself.
How Did We Get In This Mess
Julie starts her book with background as to what's happened with retirement planning over the years. She comments, “It is becoming increasingly clear that we haven’t adapted well to the shift from pensions to savings plans.”
Putting control of money for retirement into an employee's hands hasn't lead to good investment decisions or increased levels of saving for the future for many people.
She also discusses our spending issues. “We are the perfect consumers. We have a basic need for novelty and new experiences…” And sadly, many people borrow for things they used to have to save for.
Julie believes it isn't just an income problem either. If celebrities, professional athletes, and lottery winners end up without enough money at retirement too – the problem is saving.
Part 1 – Why and How Much To Save
Julie debunks some myths right away. You probably can't work until you die. You may not make more money each year as you age. You can't assume you'll inherit anything, be able to sell your house when you want, and that your pension will always be there.
But she gives hope too – that no matter when you are starting to save, it's never too late. Julie reminds you that if you haven't learned to save – just know you can learn how to do it. And her book does a great job of teaching you ways to get started.
Part 2 – How To Get On Track
Julie starts this section of the book with a focus on goals and how much easier it is to save if you have a focus. She provides calculators and worksheets to help build a budget and track your expenses.
Julie also helps you work to determine what your expenses will be in retirement. Then, she teaches you how to assess your progress, and monitor and adjust your savings strategy.
If you're a rule follower, Julie suggests you create “savings rules” to follow. She also reminds you that, “When life gets in the way of your plans, make a new plan.”
Part 3 – Taking Control and Building Financial Security
In the final section of the book, Julie discusses places to put your money and explains various accounts and investing terms you need to know. She lets readers know they don't have to become a master investor to be successful saving enough money for retirement.
Tackling a money topic many set aside, Julie speaks to the importance of end of life financial planning. Life insurance, wills, estates, trusts, and long-term care insurance are explained.
Julie helps you decide what you need to build financial security because everyone's financial situation is different.
Even If You're Saving, You'll Learn From Save Yourself
Fewer pensions, reductions in Social Security, and a lack of savings create financial stress. And it's no surprise that financial stress is bad for your health.
Julie wants to help you build on the skills you already have to reduce money stress. Her book provides a wealth of researched information, and it's written in an easy to understand way. She also includes plenty of stories you'll be able to relate to.
At the end of Save Yourself, Julie walks through how to create a financial plan. She includes all of the activities and worksheets and breaks it up into manageable weekly plans.
Even if you're making progress toward your financial goals, there's a good chance you still have more to learn. Julie's book is a comprehensive review of the steps you can follow to build wealth and develop a financial plan allowing you to live the retirement you desire.